Forest Park city employees could carry guns under proposed ordinance

Forest Park is considering an ordinance that would allow city employees to carry firearms on city property, with some exceptions.

FOREST PARK — Employees of Forest Park who hold a Georgia Weapons Carry License could get permission to pack on city property under a proposed ordinance.

Although the measure was listed on the Jan. 22 7 p.m. meeting agenda, it was not listed for discussion on the 6 p.m. work session agenda.

The measure notes Georgia’s concealed-carry permit “requires an extensive background check.” Should it pass, employees who have a Georgia WCL “may possess firearms, but must register with the city manager prior to possessing them on city property.” The acting city manager is Police Chief Nathaniel Clark.

A Georgia WCL application background check involves digital fingerprinting at Clayton County Probate Court, which is checked against Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation databases.

All other city employees, presumably those who do not or cannot hold a Georgia WCL or who hold a similar permit from another state, would be required to leave their firearms in their personal vehicles.

The ordinance also forbids all city employees who are not police officers from possessing any weapons while in a city vehicle.

In August 2019, according to a Forest Park Police Department memo the News obtained through an Open Records Request, Public Works Deputy Director Bruce Robinson allegedly showed off a 9mm SCCY pistol and hollow-point rounds he’d just bought on his lunch break and made comments implying that he would shoot another employee.

The memo, from Forest Park Police Lt. S. Koth to Chief Nathaniel Clark and Redding, found Robinson had “no intent” to shoot the other employee: “The alleged suspect and the alleged victim stated that there was no threat (outright or veiled) made nor was there a verbal altercation of ill will between them.” The report also noted that smack talk was part of the culture at Public Works.

In September, the News inquired as to whether the city had a policy on employees carrying firearms on city property and whether they had to lock their firearms in their personal vehicles. At that time, then-City Manager Angela Redding said “Currently, we are reviewing a weapons policy. Upon approval, a copy can be provided to you.”

The ordinance would not apply to non-employees on city property. Citizens attending City Council meetings are routinely subject to bag inspections and metal detectors.

Mayor Angelyne Butler did not respond to a request for comment on the proposed measure.

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